In Zurich, trams are the backbone of the public transport system serving the center as well as most city neighborhoods and suburbs. 15 lines run on 171.9 kilometers of track with a total route length of 72.9 kilometers. As the infrastructure within Zürich is largely street based, it is an excellent way to explore the city. So, we came up with the idea to ride all the lines and tell you what you get to see on the way.
Tram Line #8: Hardplatz – Klusplatz
At Hardplatz I hop into tram #8 from where I get a nice view on the Prime Tower, a relatively new skyscraper, which happens to be the highest building in Switzerland with its 126 meters height and 36 floors. Compared to other cities this is nothing, but in Zurich the tower really stands out, as there aren’t many tall structures. It mainly serves as an office building with some retail floor space and a bar situated on the ground floor as well as a publicly accessible restaurant with bar and lounge called “Clouds” on the top floor. A visit is well worth it as you get a spectacular view over the city and the lake.
The tram departs and takes you via Güterbahnhof – a former goods station, which got demolished a few years ago – to Helvetiaplatz. The most striking building on the square is the Volkshaus that has been an established place for political as well as cultural events for over 100 years. Under its roof you further find a bar and restaurant, a bookstore as well as a public swimming pool with a sauna and hammam.
At Stauffacher – which seems busy all day long – you can visit the open St. Jakobs Church to enjoy the spirituality of this colorful church known for its modern and probably unconventional approach; besides masses they organize dancing and yoga classes, cultural events as well as debates on various topics.
After crossing the river Sihl the tram stops at Bahnhof Selnau right next to the country’s principal stock exchange “SIX Swiss Exchange”, the first one in the world that incorporated a fully automated trading, clearing and settlement system in 1995 replacing the floor trading.
From here you drive through Zurich’s main financial district stopping at Stockerstrasse, Paradeplatz and Börsenstrasse before reaching Bürkliplatz at the border of the lake. When the weather is good, you get to see the mountains in their full glory.
Crossing the river Limmat you reach Bellevue – a French term for “nice view”. Well, at the moment the view is not that great as a giant construction site is set up for some major street renovation work. Bellevue is besides Central another transport nodal point where many tram lines cross.
The green tramline #8 heads straight ahead to Kunsthaus – the Museum For Modern Art. Besides the standard collection they currently show an exhibition with the title “Japanese Inspirations”.
If you are more interested in theatre you only have to cross the street to reach the Schauspielhaus. Zurich’s playhouse – also known as “Pfauenbühne” (Peacock Stage) is one of the most prominent and important theatres in the German-speaking world and with 750 seats also rather big.
The old tram rumbles around the corner through the district Hottingen, an upscale neighborhood. I wouldn’t mind living here for some time, in case anybody is looking for a house sitter.
At Römerhof you can take the Dolderbahn – a funicular that takes you up to the Adlisberg and the famous, luxurious Dolder Grand Hotel.
When we approach the terminal stop Klusplatz the tram driver wishes us a lovely day and “En Guete” – basically a Swiss German phrase translating as “Enjoy your meal” (it was lunch time).